February 26th 2009 (unedited, draft entry)
#14 Gregory Sims (acquaintance/friend of Lana Clarkson; hosted an impromptu party at his hotel suite a week before Lana died; testimony complete)
#15 Jennifer Hayes Riedl ("friend" of Lana Clarkson; under first cross examination)
Accredited Press inside the courtroom: One possible individual, unidentified
Even though I miss the 8:39 am train, I was lucky there wasn't a line at security. I get on the 9th floor right at 9:30 am. After yesterday's late night of getting my notes up yesterday, I did not take nearly the amount of notes that I usually do. For most of the time, I sat back and just enjoyed the cross examinations by Jackson and Truc Do.
There are two suited ladies in court today, sitting right beside where I normally sit. I find out later in the day the woman next to me is Ann Murphy, an Associate Professor at Gonzaga School of Law. She tells me that she is writing an evidence text book and she is using the Spector trial as a teaching case. Her friend that she brought with her is one of her third year law students.
Before the jurors are brought in, there are two issues that are litigated. The first is the Jamie Lintemoot issue. Fidler starts off with Weinberg's statements about how, (he) "thought I was being unfair and that I was unfair." Fidler reviews what happened with Lintemoot's testimony and that she clearly stated she was trained to identify spatter but she was not a blood spatter analyst. That's all she was able to testify to. So Weinberg's accusation is, "Completely belied by the record and does not support the allegation."
As usual, Weinberg contests Fidler's ruling. He goes back over testimony by Lintemoot in 2007 and 2008. Fidler tells him, "You're talking apples and oranges Mr. Weinberg." Weinberg goes onto say that, "I think we are (aware?) ....the woman has limited training. I questioned her to establish that and she can't tell what it was." The tone that Fidler takes when he next speaks to Weinberg tells me that Fidler has reached the end of "his rope" with Weinberg on this issue.
Fidler: I AM ABSOLUTELY RIGHT IN MY RULING.
DW: And I respectfully disagree.
The next issue is the discovery violation accusation regarding the new and improved Greg Sims testimony. Fidler states that there's nothing in the notes (Tyndall's) that......have any bearing on the matter." Fidler states that he reviewed the witness's testimony from the last trial. He also states, "Before we go any further, I want to go back and look at his specific testimony (from yesterday). It's 9:46 am and we wait while Fidler reads the testimony. While Fidler is reading, Tawni Tyndall is going over her notes in the gallery with Jennifer Barringer and points some things out to her. Barringer passes the notes onto Weinberg who reviews them and right afterwards, does that nervous habit with his forefinger and his lips.
During the hearing, Mr. Sims tried to enter the courtroom and he had to be told to leave. After he leaves, his son (he stated from the stand yesterday that his son was with him) and another young man with him enter 106. Bailiff Kyles makes them leave.
Judge Filder highlights some of the 2007 testimony that has bearing on the ruling he's about to give. He then states, "There may be a (?) in degree, but there's clearly a difference [...] that was not gone over in the first trial. [...] That's a significant difference."
Weinberg brings something up from Tyndall's report where Tyndall asked Sims if she was suicidal. Weinberg then brings up all the phrases Lana has used in her emails and Weinberg argues that, "These are words of despair that she used. [...] The prosecution knew that he was asked about suicide. All I asked him about was despair." Weinberg continues to argue that he has given the same type of testimony as the last time. He also states, "It's indistinguishable from her email to Dr. Krueger. (sp?) [...] Was she talking about suicide? Well, she may have because it was the same type of language. [...] There's no discovery violation here.
AJ: Clearly there is.
Alan Jackson clears up the Tyndall report and adds, "That's totally different from, Lana Clarkson told me about not having a reason to live. [...] Then Mr. Weinberg asks him, 'Did she say that she didn't want to go on?' Oh yeah. She did say she didn't want to go on. Mr. Weinberg fed to him the very question that he said he had disclosed the night before."
DW: Mr. Jackson is being... (I'm sorry, but there is a characterization statement implied here and I miss getting it in my notes.)
A hot temper erupts from Jackson. He interrupts Weinberg and tells the court, "Mr. Weinberg makes these (characters assignations) and it's sophomorphic and I'm sick of it!" Fidler, patiently smiling says, "Mr. Jackson...." Jackson responds, "I'm calmed down (now) your Honor."
DW: There's absolutely no basis for some assumption that he told us something different.
Fidler: Before I make a ruling, (adressing Jackson) assume some discovery violation. [...] The discovery rules don't speak to rules of prejudice. (This is the crux of why I'm sure Weinberg wasn't too worried about this being ruled a discovery violation.)
AJ: Now that the cat is out of the bag, that's something we would have vetted before the (testimony before) the jury. [...] I'll just have to take care of it through cross.
Jackson goes into detail what might have happened if this had been properly discovered. Fidler offers to Jackson the right to question him. Fidler then rules that "(I'm) finding there is a violation. I have cautioned every person to tell the other side, (if there is something new) before they go on the stand so that this doesn't happen. [...] I've offered you to interview him before hand. [...] I find there's no prejudice."
When the jury enters, Juror #18 has a coughing fit that won't stop. Fidler asks her if something set her allergies off. It appears someone in the courtroom near her is wearing perfume. It's not the court reporter. The court offers her to take a different seat in the jury box. She declines and we wait for her fit to pass. Fidler, trying to be humorous says, "Occasionally I wear Courtroom #5 but not today."
When court finally starts, Jackson does what he does so well and that's cross examination. In virtually everything that Jackson asked him, Sims was trying to anticipate where Jackson was going. At one point, Jackson even called him on that and to not "try to anticipate my question's Mr. Sims."
When he testified, I notice that his posture on the stand is a bit stand-offish. His head is thrown back a bit and his chin is raised. Jackson asked him quite a few questions about the entertainment business and that it's very much a reputation business and it's more about "who you know." The witness is continually reluctant to agree with Jackson, saying that there are those instances where people do come out of nowhere and make it big.
Jackson goes over every step of his history with this case in reverse order. That in 2007 he testified. Before that he had a formal interview with Tawni Tyndall and before that an interview on Court TV and before that he spoke to the producer of Court TV. "In any of these conversations you have never once mentioned that LANA CLARKSON WANTED TO DIE!" And Sims's response to that is, "I don't believe I was ever asked the question before." In a tone of heavy disbelief, Jackson states, "Your answer to me is that you don't believe you were ever asked? [...] That's kind of an important detail [...] that's because that is the defense case."
Jackson confronts him with his statement at this trial where he said, "She was as down as I've ever seen anybody. [...] As down and as despondent...." [...] When you were asked that question last year, you said the exact opposite."
Sims's was confronted with several pieces of his testimony from the first trial and how markedly different it was from this trial. Each time, the witness states that he believes his characterization is no different. (Interesting, those are exactly the words that Weinberg used in argument on the violation.) Throughout the cross, Sims is slightly argumentative with AJ. Jackson focuses on specifics and points out that this is a new level to his testimony. Sims struggles to answer. He pauses and looks over at Mr. Weinberg and stumbles over a few of his words.
Jackson enters into evidence his Court TV interview. Weinberg asks to approach the bench. He asks that the transcripts being passed out to the jurors not be looked at, that they be turned over. The Judge orders the jurors to put the transcripts face down. There's a bit of a discussion at the bench. Turning around, I see that Pat Dixon is in the gallery in the fourth bench row. Not long after, the morning recess is called and an amendment to the transcript needs to be made.
At 11:05 am the break is over and when Sims is back on the stand, AJ asks him who he was talking to in the hallway. Sims states he was talking to his son and a friend he brought with him. AJ asks him if he was talking to Mr. Weinberg. He was. "If you were so reluctant to be here why would you go out to talk to Mr. Weinberg? I'm a nice guy. Why won't you talk to me?"
Sims gives the most ridiculous answer I've heard yet. "This is a hostile situation. [...] I didn't think I was supposed to talk to you. Not that they told me that." (Yeah. Right.) Before the Court TV tape is played for the jurors, Fidler addresses the jurors that the facts are to be determined by them.
The interview on Court TV is remarkably different than his testimony in the first trial and even more so than his testimony in the second trial. At the end of the Court TV tape, Sims states that under no circumstances would she (Lana) have killed herself. On the tape he says that he felt really strongly (about) that and she would not have killed herself.
When confronted with this glaring inconsistency, Sims has a very "lawyerly" sounding answer for the jury. "That wasn't accurate. That wasn't under oath. [...] This was entertainment and it was a show and I regret doing it. [...] There have been no pluses (to testifying in this trial) and I was protecting someone at that point in my life."
Sims also stated, "I had the reality to confront what really happened and testify under oath." Jackson confronts him with, "And your testimony has changed." Sims states, "I don't believe it changed. I added to it." He repeats that response for the next question Jackson asked him.
In cross, Jackson brings up the fact that he booked showings at the Backstage Cafe. Sims points out that he never made any money on these events. It was just something he did.
AJ: You stated you are in the music business. Is it a coincidence that Phil Spector is in the music business?
Sims gets angry with the implications of Jackson's question. He denies there is any connection, saying "Absolutely not and I resent it (the implication)!!"
AJ: And Punkin Pie is in the music business.?
GS: She is marginally. She's a promoter.
Sims denies knowing that the former co-owners of the Backstage Cafe were Dan and Dave Kessell. He denies knowing that the Kessell brothers used to work for Phil Spector as bodyguards. "I did not know that!" he testifies.
AJ: So it's just a coincidence?
Overall, I think Jackson did an excellent job of crossing Sims, and destroying his credibility as a witness. Although he had some pat answers, his testimony changed too many times. Still, you have to wonder why would someone change their testimony so dramatically? Not once, but twice? I have nothing to support this, just my own gut feeling and sense that something isn't right. My feeling is, the prosecution is missing a piece of the puzzle. That there is some underlying unknown information out there, that would solve the mystery to the ever dramatically changing testimony.
During redirect Sims testifies that he did not have anything to gain by being associated with the defense in this case. He states that it's not a case to be associated with in a good way. He states that he's never spoken to Phil Spector to this day. Sims states that no one on the defense team, or anyone else told him what to say. Weinberg then asks his witness many questions about Punkin Pie. The prosecution made objections but Fidler overrules with his reasoning being, "to save time." Weinberg makes a valiant effort to rehabilitate his witness. Sims states, "I had a lot of pressure from people to not be helpful (to the defense)." He states he's telling the truth on the stand.
In recross, Jackson asks, "If you weren't telling the truth, would you tell us?" He then asks a question about his friend Lisa Bloom, and his feeling that her show was a "basic entertainment show." Jackson asks, "Did you call her and tell her that you lied?" Sims responds, "I don't feel that I lied." Jackson goes over the fact that not one of the interviews he did with Tawni Tyndall was tape recorded. Not a single one. However, there was one interview that was tape recorded. Sims replies that if there was, he didn't know about it. Jackson reminds him of the Court TV interview. He also asks him if he had a conversation before or after the interview with his friend, Lisa Bloom. Sims denies that he talked to Lisa before or after the show.
Jackson confronts him that he did have a conversation with Ms. Bloom after the show. "And didn't you tell Lisa bloom the exact same thing?" (Interesting. If in fact he did say the same thing to Lisa Bloom, I'm wondering if the prosecution will call her in rebuttal?) Sims states that he also feels very strongly that something could have happened.
Weinberg has a few questions on redirect. "Do you strongly agree with that or do you still have some doubt?" Sims testifies, "From what I know now, I believe there could be something that happened." (It's not clear in my notes what he's implying and it's somewhat vague in my mind. He was either implying that she could have accidentally killed herself or that she was so despondent that she intentionally killed herself.)
And that's it for Greg Sims.
~Jennifer Hayes Riedl testifying in 2007 at the first trial.
For the afternoon recess, Jennifer Hayes Riedl is called to the stand. However, before they proceed, there is a evidentiary hearing in the judge's chambers. On the stand I hear Fidler say "402 Hearing," and then everyone goes into chambers.
While Sims was testifying, his young son and what appeared to have been his son's friend were sitting on the defense side of the room. I wondered what that was all about if testifying for the defense was so distasteful to him. Jennifer has a friend with her at court, a woman who looks quite a bit older than her. A few in the courtroom wonder if it was her mother that came with her. Just like last time, her makeup, especially her eye makeup is very dark and overdone. She is dressed in almost all black and is wearing a silk type scarf on her head like a large, wide band that covers a good portion of her forehead. The first thing that comes to my mind is Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard. Many, many times throughout her testimony on direct and cross, she started to ramble off on a tangent and her answer would be ruled non-responsive. During cross, she was very combative with Truc, totally lost about the relevance of some of the questions and several times got angry and yelled. At one point, Fidler had to intervene.
Hayes Riedl testifies that she's currently a chef. She's been a chef and a designer for over 20 years. When asked to pin down "when" Hayes Riedl met Punkin Pie, she states she knows it was after she came back to the US after living abroad, so it was after 1991; sometime in early 1992. She met Pie at a club she was promoting called Tattoo. She saw Pie at night and talked to her during the day. She sometimes went out with Pie, three or four times a week. Over the years, the times they socialized was a tremendous amount. Hayes Riedl states that she's not very good with dates and years but she's good with "detail." She states that often times she's forgotten her family member's birthdays.
Hayes Riedl states she met Lana at one of Pie's clubs (she promoted). Her and Lana and Pie became friends and they "spent a tremendous amount of time together." She identifies two photos of Pie and Lana together. They are not really recent photos because Pie is much thinner in them. Nothing like what she looked like on the stand in 2007. Hayes Riedl states the two of them (Lana, Pie) were "thick as thieves."
For a time, Hayes Riedl talks in complimentary tones about Lana. "Lana was a great girl. She was outgoing, demonstrative. [...] If she was there you knew it. Always fun to be around. Always knew she was there. [...] She spent a lot of time with her, but not a lot of time on the telephone; not too much." Hayes Riedl describes Lana's "tiny, tiny house" on the canals in Venice. Her brother's trailer was parked on the lot and he lived in the trailer. Hayes Riedl testifies that Lana had a computer. It was a desktop model and that she worked at it all the time.
She testifies about having her baby in April, 2002. That the last year of Lana's life, she had a lot of trouble with her children so she didn't have as much occasion to see Lana much that year. (No mention of the two kids in rehab this time.) She describes the decor in her cottage and states that Marilyn Monroe was her idol. "She talked about her often."
Hayes Reidl talks about the Backstage Cafe and that it was started approximately in the late 90's. She testifies that she and Lana, as Pies close friends were "required" to be at the events that Pie promoted. "We were required to be there as bookends." On and on about how Pie "required" they had to show up at these events. Hayes Reidl testifies about sitting down with Lana and helping her with the sketch video that she was working on.
Hayes Reidl states that, "Lana asked her for her opinion on the video; wanted to know what I thought of it." Hayes Reidl testifies Lana was trying to shift her career to more comedic work. She states that she never told Lana what she thought of the video because she didn't have time and had personal issues to deal with. Weinberg asks her if it would refresh her memory if he showed her what she said last time. "Why? Did I say I showed it to somebody?" Hayes Reidl replies. Once she reads the transcript she says, "Yeah. I remember my old partner Jamie Gold. He wasn't interested in it."
Weinberg has to prompt Hayes Reidl on her memory of the reception Lana received about the video. She then remembers there was some incident (where she showed it to an ad agency) and, "They made her cry. [...] I do remember that she was horribly upset about it. [...] I remember her leaving in tears. [...] I have to say she was very diligent about taking the steps she needed to take."
When asked about Lana's success in pursuing her career, Hayes Reidl responds, "Her success happened before I knew her. [...] She did have a lot of commercial success, so she was successful (in that area)."
DW: Was she discouraged?
JHR: Very. [...] She was hoping the project was going to be successful but nobody was biting. Nothing was materializing as of yet.
DW: What did you know about her financial situation?
JHR: Dire. [..] She wasn't able to pay her bills. I don't know how she was (paying bills).
DW: Did she ask to borrow money?
JHR: She asked a lot of people, yeah.
DW: Did you know of anyone to help her?
When asked about the House of Blues job, Hayes Riedl testifies, "She was positive that she had the job. [...] That's when she had the big meltdown (at Jennifer's house) and she was being paid $9.00 an hour to pull out chairs for people she used to beat out for parts. [...] And then she burst into tears and had a complete meltdown. [...] She was talking about a specific person who was wearing a huge carat diamond, drove a Bentley and living in a 20 million dollar home."
Hayes Riedl states that, "Lana often would point to a big house on a hill, or a family and say, Why don't I have that? [....] She just romanticized it." When asked about L. B. Moon, "She was hoping that he was the one. (But it didn't work out.) [...] Lana was a very vain woman. Proud is a better word than vain. I don't want to sound like a mean person."
Hayes Riedl goes into great detail about Lana going out all the time. "But the problem is, she was fragile. She was exhausted. If someone said the wrong thing to her (she fell apart). [...] At the end of her life, she had been like this for years. One year. Two years. Three years (before her death). [...] You can't drink and drink like that and be like that and just lose it."
DW: Did you know her to use alcohol?
JHR: When she was at my house, when she was sititing or when she was at the cottage, there was no drugs or alcohol.
DW: Did she ever try to stop drinking?
JHR: She had her health kicks, yes. [...] Lana was what I would describe as an extremist.
DW: What effect did alcohol have on her behavior?
JHR: She would become belligerent.
DW: Did she get depressed with alcohol?
JHR: Not in a public setting. In a private setting, yes.
A photograph from Hayes Riedl's baby shower is presented into evidence. It's not put up on the ELMO but is passed around to the jurors. She talks about how Lana was the only one drinking at the shower, and that you can see the casts on Lana's wrists in the photo. "That was a tough day. It was crazy. It was all about Lana that day. [...] It was hard. It was hard to talk over her. [...] She and Pie were drinking that day, but I think Pie only had one drink. [...] She was taking painkillers for her wrists injuries."
DW: Did you not see her for a time after she got her casts off?
JHR: She was mad at me because of a baby shower present. I got two of the same present and because I didn't tell Lana that her present was "better" she didn't talk to me for a long time.
Regarding the broken wrists, "That was absolutely devastating for her. [...] She was at the end of her rope, that's what she said. [...] She said she had it. [...] She was sobbing, sobbing, sobbing." Hayes Riedl continues to ramble on for a bit until I believe Truc Do objects.
Weinberg is finished with his direct and Truc asks for an early break. As Hayes Reidl sits down, her friend that's with her in court is overheard to say, "Excellent."
During the break, I spoke to a few people in the courtroom and asked them what they thought of Hayes Riedl's direct testimony. The word "Bitch," was mentioned several times.
Under cross, Truc asks Hayes Riedl if the first time she saw Lana's video was when Lana was borrowing good clothes from her. Truc asks if Lana's brother Jeff and her sister Fawn spent some time with Hayes Riedl's children.
TD: Punkin Pie has describe the three of you as "thick as thieves" and "the three musketeers?"
Truc also states in the past Hayes Riedl has stated that they "have each other's back" and that Lana was a good friend and that she would have been that way with Hayes Riedl. When asked when was the last time she talked to Pie she states, "I haven't talked to Pie. I don't talk to anyone in my prior life. [...] Not since the last trial."
TD: Still, at that time, you were friends with Pie? [...] Losing Lana was devastating? [...] You still miss her today?
JHR: Being here is very difficult.
TD: It's a difficult thing to do, to speak ill of Lana?
TD: Let me use your words.... (And this is something that Truc does for the rest of her cross today. She confronts Hayes Riedl with all the things she's said about Lana.) In terms of closeness....
JHR: She shared what she wanted to share. [...] We shared at the moment, so yes we are very intense in the same way.
TD: In those ten or so years, you got to know someone very well? [...] She shared her personal life?
Truc asks Hayes Riedl about the L. B. Moon relationship.
JHR: I don't know about that relationship. That didn't work out. [...] NO. She DID NOT SPEAK TO ME (about the relationship) other than it didn't work out.
Hayes Riedl becomes very combative with Truc. Truc asks her if she knew that Mr. Moon lived out of state and was in law school in Oklahoma at the time.
TD: Were you aware that she was still seeing Mr. Moon at the time that she died?
DW: Objection! Sidebar!
When Truc returns, her questions are now phrased differently but she still is able to ask them.
TD: Would it surprise you to know that two weeks before her death, she was making plans for him to meet her family?
JHR: Nothing would surprise me. (This answer is delivered very defiant tone.)
TD: Would it surprise you to know that two weeks before her death, she was making plans for her to meet his family?
JHR: Nothing would surprise me.
Truc confronts her that she testified that when Lana came to her house, to borrow clothes for the new job it was two weeks before her death. "And yet, Lana did not mention anything about Mr. Moon?" Hayes Riedl starts yelling at Truc that the time Lana came over must have happened before Lana made those plans then. Again, Truc confronts Hayes Riedl with her prior testimony and that her answers were different than this year.
Truc confronts her on her testimony that she "didn't use email." "It wasn't really my thing. I had an assistant."
TD: So you were not included in the mass email Lana sent to thirty five of her girlfriends?
JHR: I'm not sure. I don't recall.
Truc reads her the E-mail dated January 6th, 2003. Hayes Riedl was included on that list. Hayes Riedl states she knew about that information but she states she never read the E-mail. Now Truc asks her about the interview she and Pie did with Tawni Tyndall on December 28th, 2005. This was over a five hour interview at a restaurant. Hayes Riedl states she never knew who she was going to meet when Pie asked her to go along. "I went there to take my friend to a meeting."
TD: Did you not say to Ms. Tyndall that, "The video was torture to watch?"
JHR: Are you trying to say I'm a bad friend for watching that tape?
TD: Did you not say to Ms. Tyndall that Lana was a very jealous? [...] You said this about the friend you loved?
JHR: YOU KEEP ASKING THAT! YOU KEEP SAYING THAT! YOU'RE JUST (DEF?)....
Fidler: Mam, mam. You're just to answer the questions.
TD: Did you also tell Ms. Tindall, about this friend that you loved, "She was a total sex kitten. Her family did this totally inappropriate sexy memorial? [...] Did you tell Ms. Tyndall Lana was the most selfish person you'd ever met? [...] Did you and Punkin Pie, in remembering your friend that she was not a hooker, a floozie, like most girls in this town because she didn't have five bucks in her account? [...] Did you not say to Ms. Tyndall, "Careful what you wish for, you might get it, and that she should have gone home with him?"
Truc then moves onto a second interview she had with Ms. Tyndall at her home on January 17th, 2006 from about 4:o5 pm to 9:13 pm.
TD: Did you not say to Ms. Tyndall, that "Lana was dating anyone and everyone and that she would go out with anyone?" [...] You would say that about your friend?
TD: Did you tell Ms. Tyndall, that Lana had gained weight and it was all in her hips?
JHR: You're taking this out of context! You're making this like Mean Girls!
So Truc then reads the entire statement in context and it sounds just as bad. Hayes Riedl defends her statement saying something to the effect that if your sister had put on weight, wouldn't you tell her?
TD: Did you not say to Ms. Tyndall, that "Lana slept with everybody. She couldn't not sleep with them?" [...] You took that as an opportunity to trash your friend?
JHR: That was how it was with Lana.
TD: After you talked to Ms. Tyndall, you invited her to go to the Backstage Cafe with you so she could see Pie?
JHR: Honestly, I don't recall that.
TD: So was the interview finished or was that a social event? [...] And you and Ms. Tyndall ordered some drinks?
Hayes Riedl doesn't remember this at all. Truc asks her if it would help her to look at Ms. Tyndall's report.
TD: That when Ms. Tyndall reached for the check, you told her, you said, "I'll take care of it?"
JHR: I don't really remember it.
It's 4:00 pm and Fidler calls the end of court for the day. Court resumes Monday morning at 9:30 am.
With friends like Hayes Riedl, no one would ever need an enemy. During one of the breaks, I saw Harvey with the white hair having what appeared to be a close, lengthy conversation with Weinberg. Later, Harvey was observed in the hallway talking to Jennifer Hayes Riedl.
It's my opinion that both of these witnesses's were effectively neutralized on cross examination.